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PASSINGS: Roger Gimbel, John Cossette, W. Barclay Kamb

Roger Gimbel, 86, producer of made-for-TV movies; John Cossette, 54, longtime Grammy Awards' executive producer; W. Barclay Kamb, 79, Caltech professor specialized in glacial sciences

April 29, 2011
  • Roger Gimbel was an Emmy Award-winning TV producer who was known for his high-quality productions that often dealt with serious subject matter.
Roger Gimbel was an Emmy Award-winning TV producer who was known for his…

Roger Gimbel

Producer of made-for-TV movies

Roger Gimbel, 86, an Emmy Award-winning television producer who specialized in made-for-TV movies and was known for his high-quality productions that often dealt with serious subject matter, died of pneumonia Tuesday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, spokesman Dale Olson said.

As executive producer, Gimbel shared an Emmy in 1973 with producer George Schaefer for the TV movie "A War of Children," about Irish and Protestant friends engulfed by strife in Belfast.

Gimbel was producer or executive producer for a host of well-regarded TV movies, including "The Amazing Howard Hughes," "The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman," "Chernobyl: The Final Warning," "The Glass House," "Green Eyes," "I Heard the Owl Call My Name," "Larry," "Shattered Dreams" and "Tell Me Where It Hurts."

Many of his films revolved around such dramatic topics as domestic violence, mental illness, prison life, all manner of societal conflict and the collateral damage of war.

Gimbel reflected on his fruitful time as a producer in a 1975 interview with The Times.

"It's as if the liberation of the '60s forced us into reevaluations of ourselves and our lives in the '70s — and, being contemporary, our films mirrored that concern," he told Times TV critic Cecil Smith.

Born March 11, 1925, in Philadelphia, Gimbel was a member of the Gimbels department store family. He studied economics at Yale University and served with the Army Air Forces in Italy during World War II.

Since 1976, he had been married to actress Jennifer Warren. He had four children.

John Cossette

Grammy Awards' executive producer

John Cossette, 54, the longtime Grammy Awards executive producer whose father, Pierre, brought the annual music industry event to a worldwide audience as a live telecast in 1971, died Tuesday at his home in Malibu, according to Ed Winter, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County coroner's office. The cause has not been determined.

John Cossette worked for nearly two decades with the show's other executive producer, Ken Ehrlich, and producer-director Walter Miller, weaving together the various awards handed out during the broadcast with numerous musical performances that characterize the Grammy telecast. His father retired in 2005 and died at 85 in 2009.

The younger Cossette's other credits included the Latin Grammys, BET Awards and BET Hip Hop Awards. His theatrical work included the musical "Million Dollar Quartet" about the 1956 meeting of Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley at Sun Studios, which is currently on Broadway.

Born Feb. 22, 1957, and reared in Los Angeles, Cossette played baseball at the University of Arizona. He got his start in the entertainment business as a production manager for Bonnie Raitt, Robin Williams and Sha Na Na.

He married his wife, Rita, in 1984, and they had two daughters, Maria and Rose. He is also survived by a brother, Andrew.

W. Barclay Kamb, a retired professor of geology and geophysics at Caltech who specialized in glacial sciences, died April 21 at his home in Pasadena of complications from Parkinson's disease, the university announced. Kamb, who spent his entire career at Caltech and served as chairman of the division of geological and planetary sciences from 1972 to 1983 and vice president and provost from 1987 to 1989, was 79.

-- Los Angeles Times staff and wire reports

news.obits@latimes.com

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